Every so often I’ll break my own rule and enter one of THOSE online discussions.

You know the type. Someone asks a question about their diet or exercise program, sometimes even posting it and asking for “feedback please.”

Yet every suggestion or bit of feedback actually just puts them on defence.

ME: “You say low carb diets get you lean faster than moderate carbs. Are you counting your calories?”

THEM: “Calories in, calories out doesn’t work for me.”

ME: “I think you’re confusing CICO, the law of energy balance, with the act of counting calories.”

THEM: “Look, this is what worked for me and I don’t care what you say.”

And so it goes.

It can be frustrating until you realize it’s social media. And 95% of social media is not the pursuit of knowledge or connection but a thinly-veiled quest for validation.

“Tell me what I’m doing is right so I can feel smart.”

“Tell me the 976th post of my butt (this time with the sun rising over Angkor Wat in the background) is amazing so I can feel desired.”

“Tell me this jacked physique of mine that I post every day ‘to inspire you’ is awesome, so I can feel good about investing so much of my life into it and avoid stumbling down the scary road of thinking “coulda woulda shoulda.”

“Tell me I’m doing okay.”

We all need validation. Even very independent people still need recognition and acceptance of others in SOME areas.

But in the absence of someone else’s opinion, independent people also accept their own self-validation.

The problem is when self-validation is not possible or valued—and then you add social media.

People start to frame themselves based on how others respond to their post, even creating a whole new identity, or at least fill in the holes where real life has left them feeling wanting.

It’s an addiction, and like any addiction withdrawal leads to other problems like anxiety, depression, and low self esteem.

To break the pattern you need to get off social media or change how you operate on it.

Lean on your real life friends—and be sure to be there for them too.

Strive to be your best you but don’t be too concerned with what you THINK others think of you.

Because everyone else is just trying to figure out their own paths as well.

And it’s more than okay to just be you.

Coach Bryan